Zhiyun’s FiveRay F100 LED mild sticks have a stable stage of energy, are simple to maneuver, are inexpensive, and might carry out all kinds of lighting duties. They’re nice lights, marred primarily by irritating controls.
Making certain you’ve the best mild for the job is totally important to creating an amazing picture or video. Dangerous and even simply poorly balanced lighting can fully damage an in any other case excellent shot, which is why having one thing transportable and highly effective in your arsenal is crucial for these random moments. That is the place the $299 Zhiyun F100 Mild Stick really can are available clutch.
Zhiyun-Tech, sure, the corporate higher recognized for making inexpensive gimbals and smartphone stabilizers, has launched the F100 RGB LED, a 20 inch (50 centimeter) lengthy and 950 gram RGB LED mild stick (or tube/wand) that may attain as much as 20,708 Lux at its 100W highest energy utilizing a 13 by 1.5-inch mild floor.
The lightstick is sufficiently small to function hand-held, or it may be mounted to a tripod utilizing the small mount on the base of the grip for extra static utilization. The massive promoting level right here although is the equipment together with the RGB capabilities and particular results combos they’re able to. The sunshine stick provides adjustable shade temperatures, stable luminosity changes, built-in SFX modes like lightning and hearth, and a full vary of vibrant RGB colours, successfully making it a really handy and cost-effective mild supply for product work and different inventive picture/video jobs.
If solely it wasn’t so irritating to make use of.
Design and Construct High quality
Out of the field, the Fiveray F100 has very easy and professional-looking packaging. The sunshine itself is made with high-quality plastic (accessible in stable white or black) and has a slight rounding alongside the perimeters that makes it really feel higher when hand-holding, and easily appears to be like higher as properly (as in comparison with another extra inflexible/boxy designs).
The edges of the sunshine have a ton of air flow constructed into it, together with six followers alongside the bottom of the sunshine to offer a most quantity of airflow for cooling and air flow when in use at full energy and/or lengthy durations. The barn doorways that come normal with this mild add slightly weight (a “hefty” 30 grams) however even with that and all the modifiers connected, the sunshine remains to be very manageable to function as a hand-held system.
The entrance of the bottom (or grip) of the sunshine, has a nice-feeling faux-leather grip to make a greater expertise throughout hand-held use, plus it simply provides a pleasant contact of design flare for those who need a contact of fashion to go together with the perform. On the backside of the grip is a small mount in order that the sunshine might be connected to a stand of some type in case you don’t wish to be caught holding it.
The sunshine supply itself has a built-in comfortable white plastic diffusion panel over it as a way to simply pull it out of the field and go straight to work with it or join a few of the included modifiers. No matter which model of the sunshine you purchase (USB or AC-powered combos), the F100 lights will all embrace the silver reflective barn doorways, a sturdy and impressively designed grid, and a diffusion sock that matches over the barn doorways to create a mini softbox.
On the again facet of the grip is a management dial which principally controls every thing, and it’s the place my expertise soured.
Utilizing the management dial, you may cycle by means of the assorted modes the sunshine has accessible which embrace CCT mode (Daylight to Tungsten shade temperatures), a “Max Energy” setting, the SFX (particular results) mode that has six presets, and the RGB mode which provides you management over the hue (360 levels), saturation, and depth (energy). You swap between these modes by exhausting urgent up/down/left/proper after which cycle by means of the settings in every by urgent the identical course for the mode or rotating the dial.
In concept, this design could be fairly easy, nevertheless, the dial is extremely delicate and has the unhealthy behavior of adjusting modes as you press to rotate the dial. I’ll dig extra into that within the subsequent part.
Lastly on the facet of the grip are the USB-C and AC energy connections the place you may cost the battery with both connection and even run the sunshine whereas related to energy instantly. Clearly, in case you plan on working the sunshine at full energy you’ll wish to join the sunshine with the AC adapter for the 120w energy, however at the least it’s good to know the sunshine can each cost and run slightly longer even with a related USB-C battery pack. Moreover, you may replace the firmware within the mild utilizing the identical USB-C connection.
It’s also price mentioning that this mild is just not climate sealed. So sure, you should use it in some fairly hot and cold environments, however I extremely doubt it may well deal with getting moist in rain or snow and I wouldn’t belief it to deal with mud or sand in excessive portions both. So whereas the thought of the sunshine and its design scream “transportable,” it has its limits.
Utilization and Efficiency
Over my time with this mild, I used it on a music video (which sadly hasn’t been launched but so I can’t share footage), and varied units of product photographs and portraits to check out its capabilities. For many of those shoots, I used the F100 as a fill mild supply or so as to add a delicate spotlight to scenes. I additionally employed it to offer some extra shade when a scene referred to as for it.
What I actually appreciated about this mild is that because it has a lot shade vary, I used to be capable of match just about any shade temperature of a scene virtually as shortly as you’d make the white stability changes in your digital camera.
The sunshine itself (as talked about above) has a 100W excessive energy mode that’s able to pushing 20,708 Lux at its “Max” mode. Operating the sunshine at max energy will find yourself providing you with slightly over half-hour of battery life, about an hour at 50%, and at its lowest setting, it may well run for nearly six hours, providing you with a reasonably wide selection of flexibility with the use on location. If you happen to occur to be fortunate sufficient to be close to an influence supply, you may plug the sunshine in and run it indefinitely.
The sunshine is virtually silent till you begin pushing it above 50% energy. At full energy, the followers will actually kick in to forestall overheating. On that word, the sunshine can get fairly scorching to the contact, however in a number of situations, I had the sunshine working at full energy for properly over 4 hours whereas plugged in and didn’t have any points in any respect with the sunshine high quality or noise ranges coming from the followers. It’s price mentioning that whereas fairly quiet, there have been no choices to manually management (activate or off) the followers for this method — it’s inbuilt an clever means the place the system will activate itself when the warmth hits a specified threshold.
The F100 provides CCT shade temperatures of two,700K to six,200K, a collection of SFX modes that embrace SOS, TV, flickering mild, candle, flash, and hearth modes, and at last a variety of vibrant shade modes with Hue, Saturation, and Depth controls. In testing, I discovered the lights have been fairly much like the company-reported scores with a CRI score of about 94.2, a TLCI of 97, and an SSI of about 85. On high of that, when measuring the precise shade temperatures, the variance I discovered was really beneath 100 levels (oftentimes lower than 50). For example, when setting the sunshine to 4900K it really measured about 4853K.
Whereas this specific mild isn’t the brightest LED I’ve ever used, for one thing as small and transportable with the RGB settings it provides, it was nonetheless fairly dang helpful.
For ISO comparability sake, with the a lot bigger and heavier obligation SmallRIG LED lights I lately reviewed, I might use them to shoot at ISO 100 or 200 with at the least an f/4 to f/5.6 aperture. To get the identical stage of brightness in my photographs utilizing the F100, I’d need to bump my iso as much as between 400 and 1000 ISO. The trade-off right here is flexibility and inventive choices in change for uncooked energy — an change that I used to be comfortable to make.
The sunshine comes normal with the connected barn doorways (with reflectors) in addition to a properly designed grid that slides on over the barn doorways, in addition to an non-obligatory diffusion sock that finally ends up making a mini softbox out of the sunshine.
The barn doorways have been made fairly sturdy and inflexible and have been capable of keep in place whatever the mild angle it was positioned with no drifting in any respect. Even after weeks of utilization opening/closing the lights, the doorways remained stable and unwavering of their place as soon as positioned. For essentially the most half, the one modifiers I actually wanted once I was testing the sunshine out, however the Grid and Diffuser have been extremely good touches as properly.
Each come tucked away neatly within the high flap of the case the sunshine ships in, making it simple to journey with and to be sure to at all times have them with you need to the necessity pop up. The diffuser labored finest for close-up photographs, offering a a lot softer mild and serving to keep away from any undesirable scorching spots as you’d count on from a softbox. The elastic is impressively robust and when you slid it over the barn doorways and opened them up, you need to by no means want to fret in regards to the diffuser sliding off.
The grid, which I by no means actually wanted throughout my utilization, was nonetheless impressively made. The Grid itself collapses to suit properly within the offered sleeve within the case, and to connect, you merely slide it over the barn doorways and wrap the connected velcro straps across the again of the sunshine to make sure it doesn’t fall off when in use. Once more, whereas I didn’t personally discover a use for the grid, it does actually add one other stage of management to the unfold of the sunshine making it extremely helpful for many who want that kind of management of their product or portrait work.
Earlier I discussed that the idea behind the management system sounds nice on paper, nevertheless it didn’t find yourself being that means in follow.
The F100 is irritating to make use of because the Up/Down/Left/Proper clicks which can be essential to alter the totally different modes is so extremely delicate that you would be able to unintentionally cycle by means of all of them whereas rotating the wheel in case you’re not cautious.
I can’t start to let you know what number of instances I used to be merely attempting to regulate the depth of the CCT mode throughout a shoot and unintentionally switched it to RGB, then again in to the SFX mode, solely to return into CCT once more unintentionally. In case you are actually “comfortable” along with your contact this shouldn’t be a difficulty, however in my view this example shouldn’t be a difficulty, interval.
The unreliability of sustaining management how I needed it’s actually my solely main “con” with utilizing these lights, nevertheless it’s an enormous one.
The frustration I felt making these rotation adjustments might have been averted with using the cell app, however the unhappy information is, this specific system doesn’t have that characteristic tied to it both. Once more, it was possible a call to maintain the fee down, however because the dial is so delicate, it actually was and is irritating to take care of on-set when it’s a must to make fast and minor adjustments.
Irritating Controls Mar In any other case Nice Lights
The Zhiyun F100 LED Mild Stick isn’t excellent, nevertheless it grows on you very quick when you begin utilizing it. The factor that you simply want to remember about this specific mild is that it’s meant for small-scale creators who want flexibility over energy.
Sure, there are some irritating management factors, and sure there are brighter LED lights on the market, however the F100 from Zhiyun may be very inexpensive, provides portability (even with what is comparatively brief battery life), and comes with quite a lot of included equipment on high of the built-in tripod fashion mount. Taking these items into consideration makes this mild a extremely compelling purchase, even when it’s not excellent.
It’s brighter than you’d count on for one thing of its worth and offers customers with quite a lot of enjoyable and inventive choices for his or her picture and video initiatives. The one actual drawback aside from the frustration factors I’ve talked about is when you begin utilizing it, you’ll possible need a number of extra.
Are There Options?
There are a number of options for the Zhiyun F100 LED accessible, and my first go-to was going to be the now-discontinued Westcott Icelight. It didn’t provide any of the SFX and RGB choices, however you may nonetheless discover them used each every now and then for between $80 and $400.
One thing slightly nearer to cost and have would be the Godox LC500R RGB LED Lightstick for $239, the GVM Professional-BD25R 25W Mild Stick for $299, the Aputure MT Professional RGBWW LED mini tube mild for $199, the NanLite PavoTube II for $311, and at last, the earlier model from Zhiyun, the FiveRay FR100C for $199
Ought to You Purchase It?
Possibly, however I lean in direction of sure. If you happen to’re in search of a small, transportable, and cost-effective mild that may add a contact shade or fill to your photographs, you’ll will discover worth in what the Zhiyun FiveRay F100 brings to the desk.